Carnival UK’s commission cuts resulted in the loss of some agents but “only those who were not good for business”, according to the operator’s chief.
Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly in Southampton at Tuesday’s Grand Event to mark P&O Cruises’ 175th anniversary, Micky Arison (pictured below), chief executive of Carnival Corporation, said: “The reality is that the ones who were the biggest screamers were the biggest discounters.
“They lost their competitive advantage as they could no longer give their commission away and found they couldn’t make a living.
“But the move has resulted in us having more agents sell us.
“It’s the logical outcome because more agents now feel things are fair and they can compete.”
Carnival UK managing director David Dingle added: “We’ve now got healthy two and three-branch agencies in towns all over the country starting to come back. They are really valuable to us.”
And he said the new remuneration structure had also helped reduce Carnival UK’s risk after it was stung badly by the collapses of Cruise Control and Gill’s Cruise Centre.
Dingle said: “It’s a good feeling to not only make a good commercial decision but also feel like you’ve cleaned everything up.”
Arison added: “Unfortunately, as an industry, cruise has not been good at price stability but keeping a broader distribution and a level playing field helps that. We don’t want the world to end up with just one or two large internet agents.”
The Grand Event saw all seven P&O Cruises ships in Southampton this week for the first time.
Among VIPs were Princess Anne, who reviewed the fleet, and ballerina Darcey Bussell, the godmother of P&O Cruises’ newest superliner Azura.
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